Please Don't Make John McCain's Death About Your Partisan Bullshit

Please Don't Make John McCain's Death About Your Partisan Bullshit

Senator McCain shouldn't be defined in death by partisan bullshit, despite dying in a period of America's history rife with partisan bullshit

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I am a staunch liberal Democrat and I always have been. My political beliefs have made me the butt of jokes at holiday dinners, gotten me into politically charged arguments in college, and helped me focus my voice here on the Odyssey. But being secure in my Democratic beliefs does not mean I poo-poo and rule out Republicans and their politics altogether; I'm not ignorant.

When I was in fifth grade and I watched President Obama's inauguration on a projection screen in my elementary school's APR, I fell in love with both that man and politics. How could you have fallen in love with politics then? You were 11! First of all, this is about me and John McCain and not you so don't make this about you and how you don't understand glorifying for the sake of stylistic tone, thank you.

Maybe I didn't fall in love with politics in the sense that I began campaigning for more breadsticks in the cafeteria or longer recesses in the fall and spring when it was nice out, but I was a curious and obnoxious kid and after watching Obama's inauguration (and how happy it seemed to have made my mom and my teachers), I began to ask more questions about what it all meant (by all, I mean the presidency and how our government works and etc.).

I grew up in a house with a Democratic mother and a Republican father, both of whom were secure enough in their political beliefs to not enforce theirs on one another. I heard both sides of every debate, saw the merits and detriments of each argument, and ultimately made the decision of which side I would take for myself (basically, I was one of those assholes in high school who claim to be socially liberal but fiscally conservative).

In the most roundabout way, I could say this, I've kept my finger on the pulse of politics growing up and I've learned how to listen to the other side, even if it radically went against what I believed. Through it all, I've agreed with some people on some things, disagreed with the same people on others, cursed some politicians to hell, and stopped just short of building a shrine to others. Through it all, despite remaining a staunch liberal Democrat now into my twenties, I've maintained the highest level of respect for Senator John McCain.

Why? Because he was a good person.

It seems, almost glaringly so since the 2016 Election, that it is often times hard to remain a good person in politics. And yet, Senator McCain did just that. More than just remaining a good man, he remained true to his own system of beliefs, not blindly stumbling along with his party's voice. Although he was a conservative Republican, he often made attempts to reach across the aisle and promoted a more bipartisan government, even in planning his own funeral.

Millennials, Gen Zs: he wasn't just called a maverick one time and SNL kept it going for fun. He was labeled a maverick because consistently, he voted how he voted, like your wildcard friend who always has a dissenting say in where you go out to eat. He was his own person, but he was so in a way that brought people together rather than promoting the riffs that already existed between them.

The iconic thumbs down to the Obamacare repeal in 2017.

Why am I trying to sell home the point that Senator McCain shouldn't be defined in death by partisan bullshit, despite dying in a period of America's history rife with partisan bullshit? Because the day after his death, I saw an old friend posted an image of themselves holding up their middle finger with the caption, "RIP John McCain!" and I didn't say anything then, and it has been eating at me ever since.

Last October, my grandfather died after an arduous fight with cancer. My grandfather, who voted Republican in every single election of his life except for 2016; my grandfather, who served his country not during wartime like McCain did but through his life's work in law enforcement and the New York judicial system; my grandfather, whose vibrant and full life was too snuffed out by something as cruel and apathetic and devastating as cancer; my grandfather, who John McCain often reminded me of.

Cancer is blind. It doesn't care who it takes hold of, the life its host body has lived or things it still has left to do. Cancer doesn't give a shit about your political beliefs or your party lines. It just takes everything in its path. You might not have sided with anything Senator McCain did or said, which is fine (if that's the case, however, I implore you to open your mind a little bit more and see what you can learn from others). You might have just stopped short of making Senator McCain a shrine, which is a little creepy but still all good. You might not have cared less about politics recently, and I guess that's okay, too; you do you.

But do not, as some people are trying to, try to make John McCain's death about anything political or partisan. If he had been your friend, father, or grandfather, you wouldn't want anyone else to.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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